Making The Tough Calls as a Parent

teddy bear best friendsMy youngest switched from a private school to public school this year. Moving up to high school was a great moment for such a big change, but it was with some sadness that we left the private school community. We’d been part of that school for almost 20 years, and I even served on the Board of Trustees. For K-, though, it was her friends that she’d miss as none of them were also heading to the same high school.

With the rise of personal electronics, staying in touch with her mates wasn’t too difficult. Snapchat, texting, group chat, even photos on Instagram help them stay in touch. Even if sometimes it seems like it’s just about getting updates on the latest gossip!

Still, it was with some delight that I learned that K- and her pal M- had arranged for a sleepover this weekend. They hadn’t really had a chance to spend time together since the beginning of the school year, and they were peas-in-a-pod best friends for the last few years.

But there was a potential dark cloud when Mom texted me and said that M- was just recovering from a cold and that skipping the actual sleepover would be her preference. I agreed, but when M- was dropped off at our house, her father informed me that the sleepover was back on as long as they were in bed heading towards sleep by 11pm. Still, hmmm…. I wasn’t sure, because I really didn’t want to risk my own girl getting sick by sharing a cozy sleeping space with her pal. But I didn’t want to be the wet blanket and say “no” either.

box of tissues - sick childDinner and a double feature later it was coming on 9pm and I was upstairs, watching some soccer on my computer. And listening to M- cough and cough. At one point I even headed downstairs to make some “throat coat” tea for her. But still ongoing coughing and nose blowing. Not good.

Finally at around 9.30 I realized that my girl’s health had to be more important than the sleepover. I headed downstairs and said “I hate to do this, girls, but I’m making a parental executive decision: M- needs to head home. I just don’t want to risk you getting anyone else sick. Sorry, but let’s pack up and I’ll drive you home.”

Interestingly, both girls were quick to assent, making me suspect that M- was missing home and her parents and K- was fine with the decision too as she’d already expressed to me earlier in the day that she’d rather not risk getting sick. Sick girl dropped off for a long night’s sleep, and all settled down easily.

Moral of the story: Sometimes as a parent ya gotta be the parent and make the tough calls. It may just surprise you that the kids secretly agree with you too, and are just afraid or reticent about saying so.

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